More composers in Britten's shadow

In a recent post about Gerald Finzi I looked at how a number of British composers struggled to emerge from the shadow of Benjamin Britten in the post-war period. The rare archive photograph above reinforces the point that there is still a lot of fine music waiting to be rediscovered. Taken at the 1953 Cheltenham Festival it shows from left to right: William Alwyn, Iain Hamilton, Arthur Benjamin, John Joubert, Peter Racine Fricker, Phyllis Tate and William Wordsworth. The good news is that a new recording of the Second Symphony of South African born John Joubert, who is the only composer in the photo still with us, is being released in late May by Dutton. The symphony, which is a tribute to the victims of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, was initially banned in South Africa, but the ban was eventually overthrown with the support of Nelson Mandela. A forgotten maestro from the same period is remembered here.

Thanks go to Anna Joubert for making the photo available. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk Also on Facebook and Twitter.


JMW said…
Thank you for this wonderful post reminding us of what wondrous things await our investigation. I will surely hear the Joubert symphony when it is released. Dutton is among my very favorite labels; they do indispensable work.
Bookhound said…
Thank you ever so much for this post - I'm the William Alwyn Archivist at Cambridge University Library - we've also got a copy of the photo you used, and have been trying to identify the people on it for some time. Many thanks! Great work Dutton too!
I am convinced I went to the first perfomance in Birmingham of a work which Joubert dedicated to the memory of Britten. I can't identify it from on-line catalogues of Joubert's work. Can anyone identify it?
Pliable said…
Clifford,here is the answer to your question courtesy of John Joubert's daughter Anna -

Your have remembered quite rightly and the work in question is 'Déploration' , premiered by the CBSO under Vernon Handley at Birmingham Town Hall in 1978: Glad to be of help!
Thank you. I searched more closely and found references to it online. I think that premiere is the performance I was at, with Holst's Planets in the second half. Thank you for alerting me to the recording of Joubert's second symphony. I have bought the CD and am listening to it as I type this.

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